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  • M Kopelowitz and M Bacina

Arca analysis alleges Gnosis failed to deliver on promises

Cryptocurrency investment company Arca has recently called on Gnosis, a decentralised finance platform business which has its own token, GNO, to pay buy back tokens issued during an ICO.

Arca is making its argument primarily on the allegation that Gnosis has failed to deliver on past promises, and needs to demonstrate some value to its early token purchasers.

Following a leak to the Block, Arca has confirmed that is has been working privately with Gnosis over the last few months to suggest changes to the Gnosis protocol and the GNO token to recover value for token holders. Arca’s full private presentation to Gnosis on the subject, including details of Arca's proposed changes is now public.

The key elements of Arca’s proposal were:

  1. Using cash on balance sheet that exceeds token market cap, institute a tender offer for circulating tokens, returning money to GNO token holders that was lent to Gnosis 3+ years ago.

  2. Institute revenue generating and strategic cost cutting plan, consistent with Gnosis' statement of becoming Free Cash Flow positive, removing reliance on Treasury assets contributed by GNO token holders

  3. Develop clear milestones and issue quarterly reports, making Gnosis an industry leader in disclosures

Interestingly, Arca characterises the Gnosis ICO as a:

3+ year interest-free loan from token holders

Which Arco argues has supposedly:

failed to deliver the products laid out in [the Gnosis] fundraising whitepaper.

Notwithstanding that characterisation of its participation in the Gnosis ICO as pure investment, or funding of a loan, would lead to significant, likely adverse, regulatory consequences for the Gnosis protocol, it demonstrates that Arca is eager to apply conventional investment industry practice in an attempt to recover some money. Arca’ supports this argument by essentially claiming that:

  1. Gnosis has not delivered on what it promised - or a claim of misleading and deceptive conduct in the Australian context; and

  2. GNO token holders have realised no value from Gnosis’ actions to date.

Arca have also claimed that Gnosis have not managed their finances effectively and that there has been a high burn rate and unexplained spending, and thus have called for a strategic cost cutting plan. Finally Arca have claimed that Gnosis have not been transparent about their future plans to provide value to token holders and therefore have called for the business to issue regular reports so that Gnosis can be more forthright with its key stakeholders about its plans.

Why this could be an important step in the cryptocurrency industry

This is an interesting development because whilst in traditional markets it is normal for hedge funds to offer feedback to management and suggest changes to deliver enhanced returns for shareholders, this type of direct request is unique in the crypto market. It could be a positive development in the market because if these types of actions become a trend it could unlock value for token holders, where the business that operates the token is perceived to have been undisciplined in its operations and opaque in its communication with token holders.

Additionally, this development could be a model for how dissatisfied token holders interact with cryptocurrency businesses, because instead of engaging in a long and costly litigation battle, this approach, if successful, could allow token holders to recover, or even generate, value from their investment quicker, cheaper and with less courtroom drama.


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